Violence erupted between two tribes – Adivasis and the Lambadis as some some anonymous people put a cheppal garland around the neck of Komaram Bheem’s idol. Actually this is a 2 month-old row between these two tribes and the issue has been simmering and occasionally creating tensions and violence in Telangana. There have been incidents on various occasions in last 2 months causing mild violence but it culminated yesterday because of Komaram Bheem issue. State police and DIG stepped into picture and warned people against spreading rumors and assured that situation in control.
Let’s dig little deep to see what is the actual issue and what is the solution for this issue which is neglected by most of the mainstream media. The issue is between Adivasis and Lambadas, two major tribes.
Who are Adivasis: The Gond people also called Adivasis originally believed to have spread from central India, to parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The word Gond comes from Kond, which means green mountains in the dravidian idiom. The Gondi language is closely related to the Telugu. They have a sizable population and a long history of settlement in Telangana. In history, Gonds ruled in four kingdoms in central India between the 16th and 18th centuries but later swept away by Maratha kings.
Who are Lambadas: Banjaras or Lambadas are nomadic people from the northwestern belt of the Indian subcontinent (from Afghanistan to the state of Rajasthan) now spread out all over India. They settled across the Indian subcontinent, from the state of Rajasthan. They are best known for their migrating from one place to other in search of merchandise, with their Pack- Bullocks. In history, they outstanding service providers to the kings in showing path to them, as they themselves are the explorers of the places.
What is the actual issue between Adivasi and Lambadas: Gonds/ Adivasis are listed as Scheduled Tribes in Telangana as well as other states. Lambadas are listed as Backward Class (BC) in some states and as Scheduled Caste (SC) or ST in other states. For example, in Maharashtra, Lambadas are in BC category but in Telangana they are in ST category. Gonds allege that Lambada Banjaras come from Maharashtra (where they are BCs) and settle in Telangana district(where they are STs) and are availing all the government benefits although they are not locals. Although, they come from outside the state, they are somehow managing get government jobs and are availing all the benefits under ST quota. Gonds also pointing out that even in Telangana (erstwhile Andhra Pradesh) also, Lambadas were included in the ST list only in 1976. Now as Telangana government began recruiting through the TSPSC without categorisation of STs Lambadas getting the upper hand.
Komaram Bheem who fought against Nizams and died during battle became an eternal hero belongs to Gond (Adivasi) community. So, insulting his idol caused all this violence as Gonds believe this is done by Lambadas intentionally because of the ongoing strife.
Way forward: Like many issues between two regions, religions, castes – this issue also has its root cause in much bigger issue of unemployment. Governments has to take care of this bigger issue, otherwise the frustration and anger will pop in various other smaller issues. Another underlying bigger issue here is corruption. Because Gonds are not actually complaining about really deserved Telangana Lambadas taking jobs but non-locals coming to Telangana and creating fake local certificates by bribing officials to get jobs in Telangana. So, these bigger issues need to be addressed for long term benefits and simultaneously government should proactively handle this sensitive issue and reduce tensions immediately.